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A Symposium on Sex Roles and Communication 

WINTER 1979 

CHIAO(Chinese) -The Dragon of the Marches 
Good Fortune 


To Readers: An Introduction 

Voting V. KJjm f Gu<U>t FdLton. 

Uobtzza C. Aiunc-Lon-Lande. 

Voting V. Kim 


Gcul M. St, HarvUn 


JLtuka. Votw. 

[Page A 




CIoml Sue KldtvelZ 

From the Editor's Flight Cabin 39 

WoZzn Hughe* 


HEBE (Greek) -JUVENTAS (Roman) 
Goddess of Youth 


This issue will be devoted to review articles 
summarizing the feminist critique of scholarship 
in many fields. 

Guest Editor: HARRIET GROSS, Governor's State 
University, Park Forest South, Illinois. 60466 

(women in political theory, government, administration, 
publ ic af fa irs) 

Guest Editor: SARA SHUMER, 2405 McGee Avenue, 
Berkeley, California 94703 

Readers are invited to submit articles, reviews, 
photographs, cartoons, poetry on either topic to 
the guest editor or to the editorial office at 
Governor's State University. 


Please send me The Creative Woman for one year. Enclosed is my check or money order 

for $ . 

$ 5.00 regular subscription Return to: The Creative Woman 

| 7.00 foreign subscription Governors State University 

$10.00+ donation and automatic subscription Park Forest South, IL 60466 




f Creatine 

A quarterly, Governors State University, Park Forest South, IL 1 80466. 

VOL 2. NO 3. WINTER 1979 

A quarterly published at Governors State University under the auspices of the Provost's Office 1 978, Governors State University and Helen Hughes 


Helen E. Hughes, Editor 
Lynn Thomas Strauss, Editorial Assistant 
Joan Lewis, Editorial Consultant 
Suzanne Oliver, Graphic Designer 

Young Y. Kim 


Donna Bandstra, Social Sciences 

Rev. Ellen Dohner, Religion 

Rita Durant, League ol American Penwomen 

Harriet Gross, Sociology/ Women's Studies 

Helene Guttman, Biological Sciences 

Mimi Kaplan, Library Resources 

Shirley Katz, Music/Literature 

Young Kim, Communications Science 

Harriet Marcus, Journalism 

Betye Saar, Fine Arts 

Marjorie Sharp, Human Relations Services 

Sara Shumer, Political Theory 

Emily Wasiolek, Literature 


Many people cone to the women's movement out of 
disillusionment with the present division of sex roles 
in society. Yet many of the women, in essential agree- 
ment about what is wrong, disagree about the remedy for 
the perceived injustices. 

Some women take on what some consider men's roles — 
aggression, competitiveness, and assert iveness. Others 
would not play "the man's game," refusing to play by 
traditional rules. They would rather claim that to be female 
is to be emotional, intuitive, and nurturant, and that 
society has to treat women equally as they are. Still others 
would drop all mentions of sex roles and gender assignment and 
work toward some alternatives to traditional sex roles. 

What course of action one may take should, ultimately, 
be a matter of individual choice. In this issue of The 
Creative Woman, I am presenting five articles dealing with 
women's sex roles, and the ways women deal with such roles 
through communication in five different cultures. The articles 
were originally presented at recent professional conferences, 
and the authors have kindly revised their original papers 
into a less technical style and format. 

offers useful comparative information on the emergence of 
a women's rights movement in that society. The historical, 
economic, and cultural factors that interfere with the 
movement are discussed. 

The second article, WOMEN IN FAR EAST ASIA, 
illustrates major characteristics of women in three 
Asian countries — China, Japan, and Korea. Women's roles 
are described in relation to men's roles; the inter- 
action of both sets of roles and communication patterns 
are presented in the context of the societal structure. 

THE UNITED STATES, reports up-to-date social science 
research dealing with the characteristics of communi- 
cation behaviors of American men and women. The article 
discusses not only the societal norms and sex differences 
but also why such differences exist. 

WEST GERMANY, deals with the historical and cultural 
factors for communication behaviors of men and women in 
West Germany. The communication behaviors are discussed in 
terms of specific settings — such as during courtship, 
in the home, and between professional men and women. 

The fifth article, AMERICAN INDIAN WOMEN, points 
out the dynamics of social change and its impact 
on the lives of American Indians, particularly American 

Indian women. The article provides an analysis of the 
communication strategies and the dilemmas of American 

Indian women in coping with social change in the larger 
American society. 

All these articles combine to illustrate the notion that 
communication between women and men within the same society 
may be a form of cross-cultural communicat ion. 

I sincerely hope that these articles will help the 
readers broaden their perspectives on women and reflect 
on their choices for future actions,, 

by Voung V a Kim 

VICTORIA (Roman) -The Victory 

Remote jo-lning LlniveAAity o& KanAaA, 
Vk KMincJjon-Landt had necjuvcd /ie/t 
?h V at IMjchlgan State LlntvcAAity and 
taught at Vale., SUNV-Neu) VaZtz, and 
(Jo o& HouxlIIo She aj> moit active, in 
ptiofeAilonaZ aA&ociatLonA o& Apecch- 
commu.ntcatLon CuAAcntty 6hc iA piepaA- 
ing manu6cAlpt& fox boofii dcaltng v)Ajtk 
commanAjcatlon, identity, and &oc<LaZ- 
p6yc.hoZ.OQAjc.aZ. Integration of, minofvity 


by fJobZeza C. k&ancton-Lande 

The government of the newly independent country 
of Papua New Guinea, in its "Government Eight Point 
Improvement Plan" for national development, included 
a commitment for the "rapid increase in equal and active 
participation of women in all forms of economic and 
social activity. "(1 ) This concern for women's partici- 
pation in the development strategy of the government is 
a recognition that "women make a very important 
contribution to subsistence production, but have so 
far had little involvement in money raising activities. "(2) 
It is also an official acknowledgement that "women 
represent only a very small minority of wage employees, 
and that this situation will continue while males 
outnumber females at all levels of the education system. "(3) 

Almost a decade has passed since the formulation 
of the "Government Eight Point Improvement Plan." Yet, 
very little progress appears to have taken place in the status 
of women in Papua New Guinea society vis a vis men in spite 
of the government's avowed commitment to this goal. Perhaps 
the nature of male/female communication should be explored 
to determine whether the patterns of communication in 
Papua New Guinean society have contributed to the subordinate 
status of women. Can such patterns be changed to facilitate 
women's active participation in the country's national 
development? There are new developments in women's 
organizational activities which are helping to channel 
women's energies toward implementation of the seventh 
point of the "Government Eight Point Improvement Plan", 
which refers to women. 

Women* & RoZe in TRacUttonaZ CuZtuneA 

Although mainly traditional, Papua New Guinean 
society does not have a homogeneous culture. This 
is a developing country with a subsistence economy 
and a large army of unemployed. This country contains 

many small Isolated groups, each possessing a different 

social structure, a divergent pattern of organization, 

a distinct system of beliefs and practices, a separate 

language and a multifarious position in the national 

scale of development. Thus, generalizations about 

Papua New Guinean society are difficult. Nevertheless, 

while differences among the tribal groups appear to be 

overwhelming, some common features are discernible 

in male/female interactions. Striking characteristic patterns 

of male/female interactions can be observed in child rearing 

practices, initiation rites, and courtship and marriage customs, 

In the traditional small societies of Papua New Guinea, 
male and female roles are strictly defined. The main 
roles of women are those of mother, w ife and tender of 
the family plots. Men's primary roles are those of hunter, 
fighter and protector of the village. The division of 
labor effectively reflects these role prescriptions: 
men are expected to do most of the heavy and dangerous 
work; while the women do routine and daily tasks related 
to the normal existence and subsistence of the family. 
Infant care in much of Papua New Guinea society is left 
largely to the mother. There is a strong belief in 
many cultural groups, especially in the Highlands area, 
that contact with the blood shed in childbirth and thought 
to still cling to the newborn child from a few days to weeks, 
is potentially dangerous to masculinity. Also prevailing is 
a belief that it is degrading for men to carry babies or be 
soiled by them. On the other hand, women feel that men are 
not to be trusted to take proper care of infants. 

Infants are usually treated in almost identical 
fashion regardless of sex. However, when children are 
about five years old, they begin to show an appreciation 
of role differentiation. (4) Girls are gradually 
Introduced to household chores and garden work by helping 
their mothers, while the boys continue to play with 
other boys. By about the age of nine, girls are already 
established in "woman's work", while boys still may 
carry on playful activities till adolescence. 

In the Highlands and the Sepik river areas, 
especially, women are believed to possess a supernatural 
power during their menstrual period and when giving 
birth, different from and opposed to the power that 
men acquire in performing their rituals. Thus, 
male/female relationships, especially in the Highlands 
are tinged with tension and hostility making communication 
difficult. In other regions these relationships are 
also fraught with strain, especially in the matri lineal 
societies where a husband may be at an economic disadvan- 
tage vis a vis his wife's kin. The more modern sectors of 
society reflect tension in male/female relationships 
with the difficulties that women have in communicating 
their aspirations and frustrations. In spite of Prime 
Minister Somare's statement that " was possible to make 


men understand the problems and frustrations of 
womenfolk," (5) many of the best educated men find it hard 
to accept, or even listen to the women's demands for a 
change in status. This probably accounts for the rather 
low priority given by the government to the seventh point 
of the "Government Eight Point Improvement Plan". 

Male initiation rites, from which women are banned 
emphasize the value of male superiority and the community 
of male interests. In some areas, the function of the ritual 
is to "cleanse the polluting effects of past feminine 
contact. "(6) The women too, have initiation rites mostly 
connected with a girl's first menstrual period. It marks a 
new stage in her development- she is now fit to become a 
wife and mother. Essentially, it is a confirmation of 
her new status in the community. There have also been 
rituals in which males and females both participate. 
But while boys went through the full rites and were taught 
the significance and the secrets of the rituals, the 
girls were given a modified version and spared the 
physical ordeal. Subsequently, they could not act as 
initiators. Modernizing European influence, notably 
through religious missions and the colonial administrations 
have affected but not eliminated the practice of these 

Despite the tensions marking male/female 
interactions, people do get married. They marry 
as in the world over for interpersonal attraction, 
sex, desire for children, economic advancement, 
power and alliances, and maturity status. But 
more compelling in Papua New Guinea is that "there 
is no recognized role for bachelors and spinsters...", 
it is inconceivable for anyone not to want to get married. (7) 
Courtship practices, marriage arrangements and patterns 
of marital relations are influenced by a number of 
factors correlated with certain cultural areas. In 
many costal and island regions courtship of young couples 
takes place in a setting where a good deal of pre-marital 
sex is allowed, or at least tolerated. In the Highlands, 
pre-marital sex tends to be frowned upon, an attitude derived 
from the notion of dangerous female impurity. (8) 

Certain features however, appear to be common 
among the cultural areas. Most significant is the 
"bride price," or "bride wealth" and is defined as 
the reciprocal exchange of goods or cash by one kin 
group to another kin group. Its function is to restore 
the balance of exchange, with the gainers of brides 
compensating the losers of daughters in conformity with 
general principles of economic reciprocity. (9) The 
custom appears to be rooted in the cultural practice 
of establishing and maintaining social relationships 
by the exchange of essential and material goods. 
Commodities exchanged usually include the valuables 
of a particular community. The gifts are collected 
among the relatives as a way of showing sol idarity 

and cooperation. Thus, a traditional marriage 
arrangement involves not only the couple but their 
kinship groups as well. Everyone has a stake in the 
success of the marriage,. The amount or quantity of 
payment is influenced by the desirability of the 
bride and the social status of the contracting parties. 
It is often a matter of pride to both sides that the 
highest possible price should be paid. This custom, 
steeped in tradition, persists to the present in 
spite of the efforts of Christian missions to eliminate it, 
And while such a custom remains, the marital relationship 
retains much of its traditional flavor, especially 
affecting the status of women,, 

Womzn and Education 

Papua New Guinean society is still largely 
prel iterate,, Less than 30 percent of its approximately 
two and one half million people were listed in 1971 
as being I iterate,, (10) Less than one third of the 
literate are women. Parents are reluctant to send 
their daughters to the schools, a factor that may account 
for this lower level of literacy among women. As 
already noted, girls begin at an early age helping 
their mothers with daily household tasks. Thus, 
while boys are free to attend school, girls must remain 
at home and work. Boys ages 6 to 10 are rarely 
forced to work. Even in the modernizing sectors, 
mothers still have misgivings about allowing their 
daughters to attend higher institutions of learning. 
They fear that as their daughters leave home and 
inevitably learn new ways, traditional customs will 
be forgotten leading to a culture clash between mothers 
and daughters. One of the many proposals strongly 
supported by the women at their national convention 
was "setting up committees in each district to educate 
parents to allow their daughters to go to school and 
continue advancing themselves at a I I levels. "(11) 

Nevertheless, some women have served as articulate 
champions of women's rights. A small number received 
their higher education abroad, sent there by the 
Australian authorities when no higher education was 
obtainable in Papua New Guinea. These women command 
attention because, in a country where there are a 
very few educated persons of either sex, their education 
gives them a claim to public attention despite their 
sex. This elite group of women is joined by an equally 
small number of relatively young women from the first 
classes of the Administrative College. This institution 
was established by Australian colonial authorities in 
1964 when it became clear that the country would have 
to be given independence and that a national higher 
civil service should be created quickly. When Papua New 
Guineans took control of the country's government, these 
women had to be given positions of some importance in the 
public service. And a number of them subsequently were 
elected to parliament. They have become effective 


spokeswomen since they are able to work within^The 
power structure,, 

Outside this elite circle is another group: 
women with some education but without high positions,. 
They speak out through the mass media, in particular 
by writing letters to the editor of the Post Courier, 
the only English language newspaper of nation-wide 
distribution, and to Wantok, the only nation-wide 
newspaper in Pidgin. It is quite clear that education 
has achieved the most significant change in the lives 
of women. As they become more educated, women are 
speaking out more aggressively about their determination 
to achieve equal participation in national development. 
They are not only writing letters to newspaper editors, 
but are also staging protest marches and demonstat ions 
in order to be seen and to be heard as an organized force. 


The multiplicity of Papua New Guinea languages 
has contributed to communication difficulties which, 
from the start, have plagued women's efforts to unite 
for their common good. When the women are able to 
assemble as in the yearly national conventions of 
Papua New Guinea women, they must resort to an alien 
language, such as English at their first convention 
in 1975, and to a quasi lingua franca such as Pidgin 
at their second national convention in 1976, These 
two languages, the latter spoken by a relatively wide 
section of the urban population, the former spoken 
mainly by the educated elite, are not commonly 
understood by the mass of citizens in the villages. 
Thus the needs or the voices of most women, especially 
from the hinterlands, are not often heard. Also 
complicating the problem of unity is the presence 
of another quasi lingua franca, Motu, spoken largely 
by the Papuans. As personally observed during a 
recent field trip to Papua New Guinea, even if a Papuan 
is able to understand Pidgin, he/she may deny that 
fact. Thus linguistic loyalty (coupled with historical 
division of sectors) has been another impediment 
to the nationwide cooperation of women to advance 
common goa I s . 

Papua New Guinean geography greatly affects 
patterns of communication between different localities. 
Mountains rise steeply, producing terrain extremely 
difficult to traverse, isolating groups from each 
other and breeding fear and distrust of strangers. 
This situation, as well as the linguistic fragmentation 
of the country have proved to be formidable barriers 
to human communication. No wonder that when the women 
are finally brought together through government sponsored 
village women's group meetings, some time is needed before 
barriers are lowered and real communication ah^" 4 - 
common problems occurs. 


New Ve.veZopme.ntl> 

The weight of tradition has slowed the advancement 
of women's status ?n Papua New Guinea, but has not 
completely stopped women from improving their condition. 

The most dramatic development within the past two 
years concerning the women's movement has been at 
the village level, where traditionally women have 
little say even in the conduct of their own affairs. 
Village women's groups have been organized by the 
government to involve women in community development 
affairs. For the first time in their lives, women 
from different cultural groups have met to discover 
common problems and decide their priorities. (12) 
Village women's groups were created to foster better 
relationships among women, especially between the 
old traditionally-minded and the young modernizing women 
with some schooling; and to increase the women's 
participation in the development of their communities; 
and to encourage cooperative work in running their 
own affairs. The women's groups also serve as 
communication networks, disseminating information 
about new practices and new alternatives to traditional 
roles that can enrich the women themselves as well as 
their communities. They also serve as conduits of 
information between the office of the Prime Minister 
and the vi I lage. 

Over 700 women's clubs are scattered throughout 
the country. (13) These clubs are administered by 
the Local Government Councils, under the jurisdiction 
of the Office of the Provincial Commissioner in each 
district. Through these clubs, women are becoming more 
aware of their responsibilities as citizens of their 
country. They are not only taking a larger part in 
decision making and in the planning of the development 
of their communities, but they are also telling the 
men what to do or say in such matters. 

It seems clear that it is not part of Papua New 
Guinean tradition for women to speak out for equal 
rights. Their ability to do so now is largely the 
result of foreign influences, including the opportun- 
ities and encouragement received from their colonizers 
who still are present in large numbers in key positions 
and who still exercise considerable influence in the 
country. What will happen when foreigners cease to 
exercise influence remains an interesting question. But 
the future does not appear to be bleak. The present 
government is committed to improving the women's 
condition; more and more women are now receiving an 
education and are becoming more outspoken in their 
demands. This is likely to maintain the present 
momentum. The march of Papua New Guinea women toward 
progress will continue, and the gains already made 
are irreversible. 



(1) Central Planning Office, by authority ot^the 

National Planning Committee, "The Post Independence 
National Development Strategy-Papua New Guinea, 
White Paper." Waigani, P.N.G.: Central Planning 
Office, 1976, (October) p. 15 

, r / Ibid, p. 162, also Hastings, p. 15 

(5) Boden, Delma, "Report on the First National Convention 

of Papua New Guinean Women, 1975," (unpublished) p. 5 

(6) See Ryan, Encyc I oped ? a p . 556 

(7) Ibid, p. 703 

(8) Ibid, p. 704 

(9) Ibid, p. 705 

(10) Bureau of Statistics, Papua New Guinea, "Summary of 

Statistics, 1973/75," Port Noresby: Bureau of 
Statistics, 1977. pp. 12, 135-141. 

(11) Boden, Delma, Report . ..,p. 19 

(12) Central Planning Office, "The Post- Independence 

National Development Strategy...", p. 10 

(13) An interview by the author with the Advisor on 

Women's Affairs. 

(14) See Ryan, Peter, Encycloped ia . . . .p. 7 

(15) See Ryan, Peter, Encyclopedia . ...p. 708-710 

Another major reference for background information 
about the women's movement in Papua New Guinea and 
other areas of the South Pacific is Griffen, Vanessa, 
Women Speak Out; A report of the Pacific Women's 
Conference, 1975, Suva, Fiji: The Pacific Women's 
Conference, 1976. 


Young V, Kim U> Unlve/ulty VnofeA- 
6oi oft Communication Science cut the. 
Govennora* State UnlveA6lty She. 
finished hen. M.A. at the UnlveAAlty 
o^ Hawaii; P/i.P. at floithweAteAn 
Unlvesu>lty. The main fiocuA of hen. 
teaching and Ia the phoceA* 
and effects of communication between 
people of, different cultu/iat background*. 


by Young V, Kim 

Since the late 19th century and 20th century 
when China, Japan and Korea "opened the door" to the 
rest of the world, their traditional culture has 
gone through a series of changes and modifications. 
A flood of Western ideas and material objects entered 
into hitherto isolated countries; some were altered 
so fundamentally that older forms were discarded. 
This was especially true in technology, urbanization 
and industrialization. Yet the new influences did not 
affect all aspects of the societies equally. In many 
areas of life, "traditional" culture and "modern" 
culture are found to be flourishing side by side, while 
certain basic sanctions of family relationship, religious 
life, and status orientations have been altered very 
slightly. The centuries of influence of Buddhism and 
Confucianism on the three nations' fundamental social 
values ind norms still persists in the heart of the 
culture. The adoption of Western liberal attitudes 
in individual rights and equality is minimal; the 
traditional authoritarian and hierachical attitudes still 
dominate all major aspects of human relationships, 
indluding that of men and women. 

As Herskovitz pointed out, "the behavior and belief 
of no two individuals is identical" and "whatever we 
characterize about one culture or cultural group should 
be thought as variables rather than rigidly structured. "(1 ) 

Thus, my attempt to present a profile of general 
cultural norms and communication patterns of the three 
groups of women inevitably sacrifices specific details 
and uniquenesses of individual groups. Further, many 
shades of variation among different regions and social 
groups within each society will not be explicitly 
d i scussed. 


In a pictorial essay of Playboy Magazine (1968), 
"the girls of the Orient" were depicted a9-"f ragi le," 
"alluring," "warm," sensual," "devoted," and "ivory- 
skinned" maidens "dedicated to serving man's slightest 
need." The same article also stated that "despite the 
rapid spread of Western attitudes, there is little 
avidence that the girls of New Asia will be any less 
intuitively attentive than their forebears. "(2) 

The stereotypical perception of the Asian women by 
rhe Western writer closely corresponds with the 
JJeDlction of women bv a Japanese poet Hagiwara (1806-1942): 

With lips painted lightly pink 
And powder smelling white and cool 
about the neck hair 

Woma n ! 

Ah, with a sigh so scented, 

Don't gaze too closely into my eyes — 


You are sad, 

Because you can never do without them. (3) 

The "ideal" feminine traits prescribed by the three 
Asian nations are clearly reflected in many popular 
stories and movies, "Chunhyangjon" (Chunhyang Tale), 
one of the most popular movies in Korea, is a story of 
a woman "Chunhyang" whose pure, delicate, and subtle 
beauty is widely praised by both men and women of all 

The external fragility and softness of the Asian 
women seem to be a consequence of their adaptation to 
the male-dominated society. According to an old Japanese 
proverb, for instance, the birth of three daughters could 
ruin any family's fortune; and until well into the twentieth 
century, surplus infants, especially female ones, were 
exposed to die. For centuries, women were considered to 
disturb the Spartan existence of the Samurai, the 
asceticism of the monks, and the discipline of the 
scholars. The general tendency to discredit women is 
deeply rooted in the teaching of Confucius; women were accounted 
to be subversive elements since they were difficult 
to govern: 

The Master said, Women and people of low birth are 
very hard to deal with. If you are friendly with 
them, they get out of hand, and if you keep your 
distance, they resent it (The Analects of Confucius, 
Book XVI I, 25). 

While the Asian women generally appear to be soft and fragile 
and thus accepting their subservient role in the society, 
there are other personality traits that are less visible 
and less widely known to Westerners. The traits include 


extraordinary persistence, tolerance, and strong will power, 

as have been frequently manifested in numerous folklores 

and legends of the three countries c The heroine in "Chunhyangjon", 

for instance, resisted enormous temptations, threats and brutality 

of a powerful governor of her town in order to realize her 

faith and dream to reunite with her lover, Lee Doryong. 

It is not unusual to find today loyal daughters who 

sacrifice their own happiness by not marrying in order to 

support their younger brothers and sisters. Some even 

go into prostitution or other despised entertainment 

jobs with strong determination and devotion to their families. 

Thus, the combination of external fragility and 
internal strength is considered to be the most desirable 
virtue of Asian women. Although seemingly contradictory, the 
two extreme qualities of the Asian women are internally 
consistent; they are both deeply rooted in the cultural 
conditioning over many centuries. Inferior from birth, 
totally subjugated and controlled by men, the Asian women 
learned to act submissive and docile, and at the same 
time, to be tolerant and persistent. 

It seems that our psychological strength grows through 
hardships and that our coping ability becomes stronger 
when we accept a given condition as inevitable. Similarly, 
the Asian women cope with their life conditions with 
Buddhistic fatalism and unquestioning acceptance of 
"women's destiny." 

Vomzn <Ln Family 

All the formal indicators in the three societies 
seem to point to the Confucian norm of complete male 
domination and confinement of women's value within the 
family. Traditionally, a typical woman's identity is 
secured through her relationship with men. She is her 
father's daughter, her husband's wife, and then her son's 
mother. From the early childhood, girls learn the inferior 
position of women by watching their own mothers' 
attitudes toward their husbands. In almost all aspects 
of the socialization process, discrimination and 
differentiation between sons and daughters are explicitly 
and implicitly present. Sons are regarded as far more 
important than daughters; sons inherit the lineage, 
prestige and fortunes of their families; sons are charged 
with the responsibility of conducting services in memory 
of their ancestors while girls are preparing the services; 
only sons could become officials or make a living for 
their fami I y. 

When a girl is getting married, her parents teach her 
to be absolutely submissive and loyal to her husband 
and parents-in-law as she has been to her own parents, and 
that, whatever difficulties she may face in her new 
family, she should tolerate them with patience. In other 
words, parents try to teach their daughter what are 


considered most "proper" and "moral" conducts that all 
"good" women should follow after marriage. 

Unlike in many Western cultures, the hrusband-wi fe 
relationship is subordinated and underplayed in comparison 
with other household ties. A man continues his primary 
allegiance to his parents and brothers, and the wife's 
loyalties are dispersed among parents-in-law, husband, 
and children. It is unseemly, bordering on indecent, for 
a husband to show affection for his wife publicly; to 
support her in a controversy or quarrel with his mother 
would be not only a display of bad manners, but an offence 
against a much more basic principle, filial piety. The 
strict and indisputable authority of mother-in-law over 
son's wife is typical of most households, and is referred 
to in many parables as in the c'ase of the Korean wife 
who "kicks the dog in the belly in malice towards her 

Male heads of households are supposed to control 
the family finance, make all important decisions, and 
represent the family in all official contexts, except 
perhaps in children's schools. The system does permit 
a husband to mistreat his wife, or parents to exploit 
their daughters-in-law, without much fear of retaliatory 
actions. A double standard with regard to concubinage 
and adultery of men is still often accepted. Divorce 
is a shame and disgrace not only to the wife but to 
her family. Therefore, when a woman wishes to divorce, 
she does not think of the negative consequences in society 
upon herself, as much as of the shame and bad reputation 
on her family. Group consciousness and guilt over other 
members of her original family are so strongly built in 
the minds of the Asian women that, even today, there are 
very few divorce cases initiated by women. 

Commaniccition PatteAnA 

As mentioned earlier, the three nations have been 
influenced by their belief in Buddhism and Confucianism 
(along with other local philosophical systems such as 
Taoism in China and Shintoism in Japan). The Buddhistic 
view of life and the Confucian interpretation of social 
systems have influenced the communication patterns of 
women (as well as men) in Far East Asia. 

In both Buddhism and Confucianism, words are considered 
limited in their power to convey true thoughts, ideas 
and feelings. In Buddhism, language is considered deceptive 
and misleading in the matter of understanding the truth; 
it is always a question of knowing and seeing, and not 
that of believing, which requires persuasive interpersonal 
and intrapersonal communication through words. Similarly, 
Confucianism cautions that one should not speak carelessly 
and speech should be at the right time and place: 

The Master said, if a gentleman is frivolous, 


he will lose the respect of his inferiors and 
lack firm ground upon which to build up his 
education ( The Analects , of Confucius, Book I, 8). 

Further, "Goodness" of human conduct itself was 
considered identical with cautious and responsible 
use of words: 

Ssu-ma Niu asked about Goodness. The 
Master said, the Good (jen) man is chary 
(jen) of speech. Ssu-ma Nieu said, So 
that is what is meant by Goodness — to 
be chary of speech? The Master said, 
Seeing that the doing of it is so difficult, 
how can one be otherwise than chary of 
talking about it? ( Analects, Book XI 1,3). 

Even silence was preferred to useless and improper 
words. The Buddha taught that if one cannot say some- 
thing useful, one should keep "noble silence." The 
same attitude is expressed in the Analects: 

The Master said, Hear much, but maintain 

silence as regards doubtful points and be 

cautious in speaking of the rest; then you 

will seldom get into trouble ( Analects, Book 11,18) 

The teachings of the Buddha and Confucius are well 
reflected in old sayings of the three societies. For 
example, a Chinese parable says that "When a gentleman 
has spoken, a team of four horses cannot overtake his 
words." A similar parable is told in Korea: "A word of a 
gentleman weighs a thousand pounds of gold." 

The cautious attitude toward use of words is 
manifested in the Asians' fondness for hesitance or ambi- 
guities of expression. They hesitate or say something 
ambiguous (to the ears of Westerners) when they fear 
that what they have in mind might be disagreeable to 
others or offend their feelings, especially when they 
are superior in social status. Opinion formation is 
primarily the responsibility of those who are elderly or 
in a position of authority. Further, to the Asians, 
hesitancy or silence is preferred to eloquent verbalization 
even in expressing strong compliments or affection. 
Sometimes they are suspicious of the genuineness of the 
excessive praises or compliments. To them, truest 
feelings do not need to be, nor can be, verbalized. 
Cheng, a Chinese student in the United States, well 
describes the Asian attitude toward American verbal forms: 

The American feels obligated to make some 
verbal comment to react to each situation. 
For example, when eating, one should say, 
"Oh, this is delicious!" or "My compliments 
to the chef," or "Where did you get this 


marvelous recipe!" ....The Asian is 
unaccustomed to this kind of expression. 
His first reaction to it is that the American 
is a "big mouth" and the latter's friendship 
and interpersonal relationships are all 
equally superficial. (4) 

The Asian expression, especially that of women, is 
much more subtle, covert, and less physical than that of 
American women in general. They have developed an extraor- 
dinary sensitivity in intuitive understanding of feelings 
of others as those feelings relate to themselves. This 
involves a nonverbal understanding of the entire social 
context within which each relationship is taking place, 
and an understanding of the way in which such relation- 
ships are expected to evolve. Such a communication 
pattern is beautifully depicted in the work of the 
Japanese Nobel ist, Yasunari Kawabata, Snow Country : 

In Snow Country , the central character, Shimamura, 
has sought retreat from the pressures of life 
in a remote country inn, where he meets Komako, 
a prostitute. Fven though Komako never declares 
her love to Shimamura, she doesn't have to.... 
In one scene, Komako, mumbling incomprehensible 
phrases about a party she has left, staggers 
drunken I y into Shimamura' s room, gulps down 
some water, and staggers back to the party. 
To the Japanese, the scene is unforgettable, 
because Kawabata manages to make the reader 
sense that behind the curtain of Komako's 
incoherent mumbling lies feelings of a blazing, 
sou I -consuming intensity. (5) 

Further, the Asians' intimate awareness of the 
limitations of language make them place much importance 
on rigorous mannerism and etiquette of communication. The 
difference, in respect to communication attitudes 
between the Western cultures and the Far Eastern culture, 
is that V/esterners learn them unconsciously; whereas with 
the Asians they are a subject of conscious interest and 
attention. A high standard is set; gentility implies a 
fastidious expertise in the niceties of bearing. 

One of the basic principles which underlie 
communication rules and manners is the relative position 
of interactants in the hierarchical order of the society,, 
When an Asian communicates with someone who is superior 
to himself, the commonest method of symbolizing his 
"smallness" as contrasted with the "greatness" of another 
person is to "shrink" oneself. They developed a wide 
range of bending and contractions, many of which were 
specifically taught in the Ana I ects (especially Rook X). 
The hierarchical status difference is well understood 
by Asians as to who should do the speaking, under what 
circumstances and in what manner. 


It is, then, not difficult for one to understand 
the communication attitudes and behaviors of the Asian 
woman e When they communicate with their husbands, 
parents, parents-in-law, older brothers and sisters, 
or anyone who is expected to be higher in social status, 
they tend to manifest all of the verbal and nonverbal 
patterns of communication as discussed above. They 
hesitate to express themselves verbally as well as non- 
verbal ly, and speak humbly and modestly with appropriate 
manners. Their ability to suppress feelings of anger, 
sadness, bitterness, as well as joy and happiness, is 
considered to be indicative of moderation, propriety, and 
self-control, all of which are expected "virtues" of 
women. In addition, having to notice the slightest feelings 
of others and complexities of situations, they have 
developed a highly sensitive and intuitive system of 
interpersonal perception. 

On the other hand, when the Asian women communicate 
with their children, younger members of their family, or 
anyone who is socially defined to be equal or lower in 
status than themselves, many of the manners and attitudes 
change accordingly. They are often assertive, articulate, 
dogmatic, and less hesitant in expressing their feelings. 
Also, the rigidity of communication norms become less 
visible and distinct as interpersonal relationships become 
more intimate and as communication situations become more 
private. In fact, many Asian wives do share lively and 
affectionate conversations with their husbands when they 
are by themselves; male superiority is asserted in propor- 
tion to the formality of the situation. 


An increasing number of women are sent to colleges 
and universities for higher education, and yet, they 
do not get as good an education as men, nor are they 
strongly motivated to do so. Most women go to women's 
colleges, "finishing schools for brides." The majority 
of women stay home after their formal education, and 
the small proportion of women who do go into society 
quit their jobs when they get married. The majority 
of women remain uninterested in or even aware of 
"women's rights" or possibilities of social accomplish- 
ment based on their talent. 

Mass media in the three Asian societies reinforce 
the traditional male image of "ideal women" who are 
obedient to man and confined to home. Fven some of 
the more "liberated" women's magazines today are more 
erotic and more concerned with consumption and urban 
style of life rather than dealing with women's funda- 
mental problems. They continue with the same kind of 
complaining, confessions, and sentimental articles. 
The attitude is not helpful to women — it is a kind of 
catharsis, since women want something to console them, to 
hear that other people are suffering from the same experiences, 


In spite of the strong discrimination against 
women's participation in society, a small number of 
Asian women have made exceptions by becoming "women 
pioneers" in various professions. These women 
typically fall into one or more of the following 
categories; (1) those who completely give up their 
female identity by remaining single and by adopting 
many male characteristics, (2) those who possess 
exceptional talent or expertise that is far superior 
to male co-workers, (3) those whose husband and 
parents-in-law are exceptionally progressive and 
generous, and (4) those who manifest highly tactful 
communication skills not to offend the ego of their 
husband and male co-workers. 

The rigid cultural norms and sanctioning of 
male superiority may have contributed to the stability 
of the family and social systems of the three Asian 
nations. The selfless devotion and love many Asian 
women have demonstrated for their families throughout 
their lives can be viewed as one of the most beautiful 
and noble qualities of human life. And yet, there is an 
important contrast between the forms of etiquette, 
manner, or social discrimination on the one hand, and 
actual human nature on the other. Women in Asian cultures 
share all of the basic human feelings and needs with men. 
The difference is that men are allowed to express their 
thoughts and feelings freely to women, while women 
cannot easily reciprocate their own to their counterparts 
without risking some degree of psychological and social 
safety. The frequent repression and vulnerability of 
Asian women, instead, is expressed in their chronic 
feeling of sadness, unhappiness and self-denial (although 
they may not express these feelings publicly). 


(1) See Melville J. Herskovitz, CULTURAL DYNAMICS 
(New York: Alfred A. Knopf), 1966, 0.202. 

(2) PLAYBOY MAGAZINE, 15, 12, December 1968 

(3) Takamichi Ninomiya and D.J. Enright, THE POETRY 

0E LIVING JAPAN (New York: Grove Press Inc.), 1957 

(4) Agnes Cheng, "Clashes in courtship across culture," 
EAST WEST CENTER MAGAZINE (Summer 1974), pp.1 1-1/. 

(5) Edward Hall, BEYOND CULTURE, (Garden City, New York: 
Anchor Press ), 1976, p. 114. 



(1) Brandy, Vincent S.R. A Korean Village; Between Farm 

and Sea . Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1971. 

(2) Cathcart, Dolores S, Robert, "The Japanese social 
experience and concept of groups." in Larry Samovar and 
Richard Porter (eds), Intercul tura I Communication: 

A Reader . Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 
1Q76 (1972). 

(3) Chang, Chung-yuan. Creativity and Taoism: A Study 
of Chinese Philosophy, Art, and Poetry . New York: 
Harper K Row, 1963 

(4) Cheng, Agnes. "Clashes in courtship across cultures." 
East-West Center Magazine, Summer 1974, pp.1 1-12 

(5) Choi, Jal-Seuk. "Comparative study on the traditional 
families in Korea, Japan, and China." in Reuben Hi I I 

and Rene Konig, Families in East and West: Socialization 
Process and Kinship Ties . Paris: Mouton & Co., 1970, 
pp. 202-210 

(6) Delassus, Jean-Francois. The Japanese : A Critical 
Eva I uat ion of the Character and Cu I ture of a_ Peop le. 
New York: Hart Publishing Co., 1970 

(7) De Vos, George & Hiroshi Wagatsuma. "Value 
Attitudes toward role behavior of women in 

two Japanese villages." American Anthropologist, 
Vol. 63, 1961, pp.' 1204-1230 

(8) Hasegawa, Nyozekan. The Japanese Character : 

A Cultural Prof i le . Palo Alto, Calif.: Kodansha 
International, 1965. 

(9) Iga, Mamoru, Joe Yamamoto 8, Thomas Noguchi. 
"The vulnerability of young Japanese women and 
sucide." Suicide, Vol.5, No. 4, 1975, pp. 207-222. 

(10) Korea: Its People and Culture Hakwon-Sa Ltd. , 
Seoul, 1970 

(11) Ninomiya, Takamichi & D.J. Enright. The Poetry 

of Living Japan . New York: Grove Press Inc., 1957. 

(12) Rahula, Walpola. What The Buddha Taught . New York: 
Grove Press, Inc. 1962 (1959) 

(13) Riesman, David & Evelyn , Conversation in Japan . 
New York: Basic Books, Inc. 1967 

(14) Snydez, Paul. "Prostitution in Asia." The Journal 

of Sex Research, Vol. 19, No. 2, May 1974, pp. 119-127. 

(15) Waley, Arthur. The Analects of Confucius. New York: 
Vintage Bood, 1938 


Gall M. St, liaAtln teaches F.ngLL&h 
to International students at Louisiana 
State. University, where, she completed 
her M.A. and Ph,V a degrees , Her 
majon. fields ofa Interest Include, 
communication theory and research, 
linguistic*, anthropology, and speech. 

1 .. ■*•■ -- 

b{/ Gall M. .'It. l\artln 

It Is a truism that women are the talkers in 
contrast to men who are the strong and silent listeners. 
Not true. "In study after study men have been found to 
speak more often and at greater length than women," 
says Nancy Henley in her illuminating book, Body Pol itics; 
Power, Sex and Nonverbal Communication. In an earlier book 
which Henley coauthored with Barrie Thorne a study was 
reported in which subjects were given as much time as they 
liked to describe stimulus drawings and the resulting 
mean times were; for females, 3.17 minutes; for males, 
13.0 minutes! Not only do males talk more in all types 
of groups, they also interrupt other speakers more than 
women do Male-female conversation is a very asymmetrical 
arrangement. And to perpetuate this pattern the New 
Seventeen Book of Etiquette, as recently as 1972, admonished 
young ladies that they were not supposed to talk as much 
as men do. 

Men and women speak In different quantities and 
also use different words. Thorne and Henley state that 
in English sex differences in usage are "preferential," 
that is, they're a matter of frequency of occurance. 
Cursing is a good example of this — women do — but men 
do so more. Another example; women are more precise in 
their pronunciation. A woman will end a gerund with 
"-ing." while a man is often satisfied with "-in.". 
In her Male/Female Language, Mary Ritchie Key suggests that, 
"Apparently females attempt some kind of equilibrium by 
reaching a higher status in language to compensate for 
their low status as members of society." 

Still dealing with vocabulary, women use more tag 
questions than men do. "It's a beautiful day, isn't it?"; 
more "empty" adjectives, "divine dinner," "charming dress"; 
and both "so" and "such" as adverbial intensif iers, 
"so pretty, such a nice party." 


Male and female vocal intonation patterns differ 
too. Males rarely use the highest level of pitch, 
giving them three contrast ive levels to the usual 
female four in English. This was shockingly illustra- 
ted to me one day when a young Latin American male 
student who spoke little English left my classroom 
saying, "Bye-bye " with 4-2 intonation. The effect 
was startlingly "effeminate." We spent part of the 
next class talking about intonation patterns and 
since then I've been using a more neutral form of 
farewell, especially with beginning students. 

Intonation pattern is not, as might be supposed, 
a matter of physical maturity occurring after a 
teenager's voice "changes". In a very interesting study 
reported in Thorne and Henley's book the researcher 
was able to demonstrate that even before puberty 
male and female voices speaking sentences can 
accurately be identified according to sex. This 
would seem to suggest that we learn gender-specific 
types of vocal intonation during childhood. It has been 
reported often that, contrary to popular belief, 
males display more gestures than do females regardless 
of sex of the conversation partner. An analysis of 
10,000 magazine photographs revealed that males are 
five times more likely to perform an embrace than is a 
woman. Further, another study showed that without 
regard to gender, touch exchange is highest for lower 
status target, next highest for peers and least for 
persons of higher status, that is, men touch women 
more than vice-versa and men touch lower status 
individuals more than same and higher status ones. 

One sort of nonverbal behavior is more common 
among women than men — preening, for example, hair 
stroking and clothes arranging. Among female college 
students this sort of behavior is most pronounced 
during conversation with a male partner. Other 
characteristic female conversational positions are: 
sitting with hands in lap; crossing legs at the ankle; 
crossing legs at the knee. Strictly male gestures 
are: cracking knuckles; sitting with both feet on 
floor ankles apart; crossing legs ankle to knee; 
stretching out legs with ankles crossed. You need 
only to try on the "characteristic gestures" of the 
opposite sex and have them feel somehow rather "wrong" 
to recognize how very conditioned we are with regard 
to gender-specific gestures. 

Space use for females is less and less desirable 
than for males. This principle and other relationships 
are profusely illustrated by Goffman in his publication, 
Gender Advertisements . What is true for space is also 
true for time — the more powerful person in an encounter 
will control the length of time and its use, Henley contends. 
Being obliged to wait at the dentist's or doctor's is 
an example. And in my experience, the doctor in whose 


office I can plan to sit the longest is the gynecologist's,, 
His clientele is doubly powerless — patients and females. 

Why sex differences in the sending of nonverbal 
messages exist is a matter of speculation. In his classic, 
Kinesics in Context, Birdwhistle suggests that it is 
because men and women are so much alike physically 
that humans need to assume behaviors that will distinguish 
between the sexes. Henley contends that differential 
behavior is a matter of power and status and that the 
behaviors expressing dominance and subordination between 
nonequals regardless of sex parallel those used between 
dominant males and subordinate females. Concerning the 
ability to perceive nonverbal messages there is conflicting 
evidence,, Most researchers find that females are more 
sensitive. Perhaps they develop the greater sensitivity 
in response to a need to read and read appropriately 
the messages from those generally more in control. 

Attitudes toward the gender of the person communicating 
can significantly affect perception of the message. 
Different groups of college students were exposed to 
written articles, some being told that the authors 
were male, others being told that the authors were female. 
Both male and female readers rated the articles lower 
when they believed that the authors were female. Being 
male seems to make one somehow more credible. 

It would seem that professionals whose primary 
concern is psychology would be free of gender stereotypes. 
They are not. Writing in the Journal of Consulting and 
Clinical Psychology, Broverman reported that, "The 
clinicians' concepts of a healthy mature man do not differ 
from their concepts of a healthy mature adult. However... 
clinicians' concepts of a mature healthy woman do differ 
significantly from their adult health concepts." The 
implications of this finding for the quality of mental 
health care available for women are dismaying! 

Looking at other aspects of American society, 
we see that the lone business women in otherwise 
all male peer groups often become deviants, isolates 
or low status members of their groups. This happens 
because of a special all-male peer group dynamic, 
found in neighborhood bars and playing fields which 
carries over into adult business work situations. 
Women in the United States, until very recently, did 
not have this kind of opportunity for leisure play. 
In their best-seller, The Organizational Woman, Jardim 
and Hennig recognize this same factor and claim that because 
of the usual male team experience, males differ from 
females in aggression, self-confidence, planning, 
risk-taking and strategy. Women might, of course, 
attempt to operate as men, with competitive and at 
the same time team spirit, however, it seems that 
throughout history society has viewed femininity and 
achievement as incompatible goals. 


A 1971 Modern Language Association survey of 
418 colleges and universities revealed that women make 
up 47* of the instructors, but only 75? of the full 
professors. In an interview with one of these female 
full professors I listened as she expressed the opinion 
that academia was still to a large extent, "a man's 
world," much as it was when she entered it in 1941. 
Her index was the male-dominated editorships of learned 
journals. She told of a year long battle to have the 
women Ph.D.s in her department addressed as "Dr." as 
were their male colleagues. Paradoxically, she felt 
that she was treated as an equal within her department. 

Responding to the increased awareness of male and 
female roles within the last decade, there can be little 
doubt that women are rethinking their roles in the family 
and society. But the noted psychologist Eric Eriksen 
suggests that some men may not be as open to role 
redefinition. He says, "No doubt there exists among men 
an honest sense of wishing to save at whatever cost a 
sexual polar ity. . .which they fear may be lost in too 
much sameness, equal ity. .or at any rate in too much 
self-conscious talk." 

Iris Murdock expresses her opinion in The Dlack 
Prince when she writes, "Of course men play roles, but 
women play roles too, blanker ones. They have in the 
play of life, fewer good lines." Women in the United 
States seem to be awakened to the situation Murdock 
alludes to. At this time, however, they can do little 
more than try to reinterpret their given roles. It 
will be only as women may gain more power in society 
that they will be able to participate in the conception 
and scripting of their lives. 


(1) Ri rdwhi stel I , R. Masculinity and femininity as display, 
in Kinesics in Context . Philadelphia: University 

of Pennsylvania Press. 1970. p. 39-46 

(2) Brend, R. M. Male-female intonation patterns of 
American Fnglish. in Thorne & Henley (eds) 
Language and Sex: Pi f ference and Dominance . 
Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House, 1975. p. 86 

(3) Duberman, L. Gender and Sex in Society . New York: 
Prager. 1^75 

(4) Erikson, E. Inner and outer space: reflections on 
Womanhood. Daedul us . (Spring, 1964) p. 584 


(5) Goffman, F. Gender Advertisements. Studies in the 
Anthropology of Visua l Communication . 3, "Philadel- 
phia: Society for the Anthropology of Visual 
Communication. 1976. 

(6) Goldberg, P. Are women prejudiced against women? 
Transaction . (April, 1968) 5, p. 28-30 

(7) Henley, N.M. Power, sex and nonverbal communication, 
in Thorne and Henley (Eds.) Language and sex: 
Difference and Dominance. Rowley, Mass.: Newbury 
House, 1975. p. 184-203. 

(8) Henley, N. Body Politics: Power, Sex and Nonverbal 
Communication . Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall. 1977. 

(9) Horner, M.S. & Walsh, M.R., Psychological barriers 
to success in women. in Ruth B. Knudsin (ed.) 
Women and Success: The Anatomy of Ach ievement. 

New York: William Morrow and Co. 1974. p. 138-144. 

(10) Key, M.R. Male/Female Language . Metuchen, N.J.: 
Scarecrow Press. 1975. p. 104-105. 

(11) Korda, M. Ma le Chauvinism! New York: Random House. 1973 

(12) Lakoff, R. Language and Woman's Place . New York: 
Harper Colophon Books. 1975. 

(13) Mead, M. Male and Female . New York: William Morrow 
1949. p. 8. 

(14) Miller, C & Swift, K. Words and Women . 
Garden City, New York: Anchor Press. 1977. 

(15) Morris, D. Intimate Behavior . New York: 
Random House. 1974. p. 22. 

(16) St. Martin, G. Intercul tura I differential 
decoding of nonverbal affective communication. 

in Casmir,F. (Ed.) 'International and I ntercul tura I 
Communication Annual, 1976, 3, p. 44-57. 

(17) Thorne, B. & Henley, N. Language and Sex: Difference 
and Dominance . Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House. 1975. 

(18) Wolman, C. & Frank, H. The solo woman in a 
professional peer group, in Frank, H. (Ed.) 
Women in the Organization . Philadelphia: 
University of Pennsylvania. 1977. p 246-255. 



* a* 



\ ± 1 

Be^oie St, Cloud State. 
UniveA&iJiy cut, A&6i&tant VnoheA&oh. 
o& Corrmunijcation, Vk„ EJiika Vofux 
taught at the State. UniveAixLty 
oh Hew Vofih. at Bu^ato wheAe. 
the. heA Vh,V, in communi- 
cation. Since heA oAAival Ifiom 
WeAt GeAmany, khe. 12.cQA.ved WaAteAb 
degficeA in English LiteAotuAe and 
Se.condan.ij Education h^om the. 
UniveA&ity o& TbiidgepoAt, Conn, 
She. t& active, and inteAeAtcd in 
the. hi^Zd oh inteAcultuAal 
comnunicatio n. 


by EAika Vohja 

We're all born equal. However, are men supposed 
to be more equal than women? No matter how the laws 
try to artificially equalize the sexes, have the basic 
values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of men toward 
women really changed toward equality? Of special 
concern are patterns of interaction between men and 
women during maturity, specifically during courtship, 
in the home after marriage, and in professional 
act Ivi t ies. 

People in West Germany are especially interesting 
for the study of male/female communication patterns. 
As one of the most developed and dynamic nations in the 
world Germany is typical of many western countries. 
Rut Germany also has the Prussian heritage of women 
being subserviant to men. This paternalistic tradition 
is reflected by Germans referring to their country as 
their Vater land (fatherland) rather than motherland. 

In 1870, the Bavarian statute book revealed: By 
marriage, the wife comes under the authority of her 
husband and the law (Gewalt) allows him to chastise her 
moderately. Women, with the exception of the mother 
and grandmother, are unfit to be guardians, as are minors, 
lunatics, and spend-thrifts. The laws of Prussia 
stated: "Children may not marry without the consent 
of the father." The mother was of no account in giving 
up her daughter. By marriage, the husband also obtained 
control of the wife's fortune so that whatever she 
earned before or during her marriage belonged to her 
husband. He had the right to squander all of it, but 
she might not spend a penny of what once was her own! 
Should she wish to divorce: Bodily ill treatment 
may be cause for divorce if it endangers the health 
or life of the wife e (1) These laws reflect the 
strength of convictions and common laws imbedded in 
the German society at that time affirming the 


superiority of the male and, therefore, extraordinary 
rights for the male compared to those for the female,, 
The Prussian heritage gave a man authority and influ- 
ence over women in all phases of life including 
courtship, the home, and professional activities. 

Belief in the superiority of the German man over 
the German woman persists even today. In a recent 
national study, 400 German men responded to a series 
of questions asking what they thought about themselves 
their mates, women in general, career and family, as 
well as equal rights for women and men. The sample 
represented a cross section of West German working men 
between twenty and fifty years of age. A major finding 
of this study was that the German man wants to give 
orders; he wants to be in charge; he wants to be the 
boss in his interactions with a woman. Male/female 
communications In West Germany are greatly affected by 
the perception and belief of the man that he is indeed 
superior to women. (2) 

Communication VuAing Cou/utAkip 

The German man wants to be the leader and 
intiator when courting a woman. In an interview of 
ten men and ten women in West Germany, subjects were 
asked about their preferences in initiating 
romantic communications. All the men preferred to 
approach the woman (rather than vice versa), ask her 
for a date, drive the car, order the wine, and pay 
the bill at a restaurant. They also expected to be 
the first in initiating a kiss. The women agreed that 
generally they let a man take the first step in 
romantic encounters. 

The German male communicates his affection not 
only verbally, but also nonverbal ly by surprising his 
lady with flowers, wine, or other small gifts to remind 
her of him, or bring her pleasure. The woman shows her 
appreciation and affection nonverbal ly by dressing 
specially for her date, looking her best and wearing 
his gifts. Verbal ly, she might comp I iment him on his 
thoughtful ness or good taste. On a date, the man 
usually showers his lady with compliments and centers 
his attention on her. He seeks to make his date feel 
special, and she reciprocates. 

The characteristics sought in a mate by German 
men and women suggest the desire for male superiority. 
A study of 230 German men indicated that four out of 
five explicitly or implicitly desired younger mates; 
two out of three desired shorter women, while one in 
five desired a loving and affectionate mate. (3) 

In the personal interviews, all ten men were 
appalled by an aggressive woman who would ("God forbid") 
initiate love making. When asked to name an 


undesirable characteristic of a woman in courtship, 
aggression was the most dominant. The men expressed the 
desire and need to conquer. Once again, women agreed that 
usually they let the man take the aggressive role. 
Males preferred mates with less general intelligence, 
education, and a lower social status than their own. The 
beliefs, values, attitudes, and perceptions expressed by 
both sexes agreed upon these differences. Women 
wanted mates to whom they could look up, with more 
education and possibly more intelligence. Such differences 
led their male/female communications to be mostly one 
way (from man to woman), authoritarian and limiting 
in scope. The man would usually make decisions and then 
tell his mate. He limited communications by not discussing 
certain events of his life which he considered below her 
intelligence or to be kept from her for her own 
protect ion. 

i Communication in tkz. Home 

The German man is the boss at home. He has no wish 
for a "real" partner. He likes to control the flow of 
communication within his home. The national survey 
indicated that a husband in Germany expects his wife to 
distract him from his tensions as soon as he comes home 
from a day's work. Any complaints she might have about 
the children, rising prices, or any unpleasant topic, 
should wait until later in the evening when Vater (father) 
is ready. 

Men do not discuss their jobs with their wives. 
"My wife does not know about my professional life. She 
knows the people I work with, but she does not know the 
problems that arise in the office; and she does not need to 
know these anyway. There is no need to bother her with 
that" is the generally accepted view among German men. 
"A 'real' woman wants very much to have a boss in the house, 
a man who can make decisions." "I would be terribly 
embarrassed to ask my wife for money." "In some areas 
in marriage, it is most important that the man sets the 
rules, simply because women - if you excuse me- think 
somehow i I logical I y." "Whenever I think of women's libera- 
tion, I can only smile. Every woman wants to have a man. 
A woman can only feel fulfilled at the side of a man." 
"At home, I confess, I am the boss." (4) 

Communication Between Vh.oh<Lt>t>ional Men and Women 

The German man generally believes that he has not 
only stronger nerves and muscles, but that he is also 
intellectually and emotionally superior. Only one 
percent of the German men in the national survey would 
welcome a female boss. Many positions are not open to 
women, as specifically stated in the following responses 
to female applicants: "I am sure you will understand 
that the physical and psychological stress in selling our 
goods is too high for a woman." "As you can see from our 


advertisement, we are looking for a male co-worker to fill 
this position." (5) 

One problem discussed by the German women interviewed 
was the difficulty the professional woman encounters when 
looking for a job in Germany compared to her male counter- 
part. It is like "shadow boxing with male competition." 
Even though careers seem to be available to both sexes in 
various areas, there are distinct limitations for advance- 
ment of women beyond the first rung of the ladder. Dealing 
with men professionally on an equal basis is not an easy 
task for a German woman, since she is often confronting 
resentment or a preconceived notion that she might not 
be able to perform as wel I as a man. 

Aggressiveness, even for a woman in the professions, 
is not considered a positive trait in Germany. Among the 
women interviewed, one female professor and one lawyer 
confessed that they often tried very hard not to appear 
to be too dominant in a predominantly male group discussion. 
This meant they kept fairly quiet, listened to the men and 
handled their disagreements very carefully. 

Four out of five female professionals interviewed 
revealed that they felt in a bind in terms of not ever 
quite knowing how they should act with their male colleagues. 
Feminine dress and a warm and friendly manner were often 
misunderstood. Some had resorted to wearing tailored 
clothes to down-play femininity and appear more professional. 
In doing so, they were either regarded as "manly," or they 
attracted those men intrigued by aloofness in women. All 
twenty male and female interviewees agreed that the German 
man still looks at women primarily as sex symbols. Here 
lie the major obstacles for professional women in Germany. 
Cultural conditioning and sexual attraction make the man 
look at his female colleague as a woman first, and then 
as a professional. This creates communication barriers 
making it difficult to ideally relate to one another, or 
be professional equals. For the German man, the professional 
woman is a relatively new phenomenon. He perceives her as 
invading a world in which he has traditionally been the ruler, 
And women too, have always seen men as the professionals. 

In a society where the woman's role is faithful helper 
to her husband, it is most difficult for a man to be 
introduced as, "the husband of Mrs. Jones!" He definitely 
needs a strong self-concept to stand in a society constantly 
looking for any sign that the husband of a successful career 
woman is dass er unter dem Pantoffel steht (that he is 
"hen-pecked"). A true partnership, where both man and 
woman grow to the best of their potential is still extremely 
rare in West Germany. Professional women are often reserved, 
if not defensive, in their interactions with their male 
peers because the society and the world of men are not ready 
to accept the professional eaualitv. 



The German man of today thinks in principle as 
his father and grandfather did. In his mind, not very 
much has basically changed in regard to women. "Women 
are not quite equal, but are creatures somewhere between 
man and child." (6) Although there always will be 
exceptions to these findings results essentially represent 
the realities of male/female relationships in West Germany. 
Communication patterns between V/est German men and women reflect 
the supremacy notion of one over the other. Male/female 
communications are usually downward, but rarely horizontal, 
on an equal basis. Content and channels of communication 
are generally selected and controlled by men. Overall, male/ 
female communications in V/est Germany are a far cry from 
being open and conducive to personal and professional 
growth of either person in the partnership. 


(1) T. Stanton, Women Question in Europe (Mew York: 
G.P. Putnam's Son, 1970), p. 159 

(2) U. Lebert, "Der Deutsche Mann," Briqitte Mit Constanze, 
Feb. 1977, pp. 154-162. 

(3) Erika Vora and Jay Vora, "A cross-cultural study of 
mate recruiting through mass media," Handbook of 

I ntercu I tura I Communication, Molefe Asante, et. al , 
eds. (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1978). 

(4) U. Lebert, Ibid. 

(5) Regina Fischbeck, "Nur Mannl iche Erwarber erwunscht," 
Briqitte Mit Constanze, Feb. 1977, pp. 128-134. 


ClaAa Sue KtAweJUL aa AaocMxtz 
PtotfeiAo* tn tlativz AmeAtcan Studies, 
at UntveAixUty of, CalLfioAnta, fteAhzf.ey . 
She. fizcoAvzd heA Vh.XL In IliAtoKy o£ 
Sctznce. at UniveAAiXy o& Oklahoma. 
HeA cuAAznt n.eAeaAe.h intoAZ&tb ^ocui 
on 6OCAJ1Z and cuItuAal iAbiieA ojj the 
Amesvlcan Indian*. 


by ClaAa Sue. KAdiaeJU 

In an article published in 1901, Joseph Gilfillan, 
Episcopalian missionary in Minnesota, described the Ojibwe 
Indians: the male was tall and graceful, bounding through 
the forest unburdened except for his bow and arrow, the 
female was short, and rotund, plodding along bearing a 
tremendous burden on her back. Gilfillan attributed the 
squat, rotund stature of the woman to the fact that genera- 
tions of Ojibwe women had born such burdens, and in some 
evolutionary sense seemed to be squashed down by them„(1) 

The stereotype of the woman in traditional Indian 
cultures has generally been that of the patient squaw, 
trudging silently behind her man. Much of that persists 
in modern society. She is still often viewed as confined 
to the role of wife and mother. Indian women do indeed 
fulfill the traditional child bearing role. In 1970 
Indian women had the highest yearly rate (3%) of natural 
increase of any population subgroup in the United States. (2) 
The Indian family has more children and a lower income than 
any other group. The Indian woman's median income in 1970 
was $1,697 per year. For all U.S. women it was $2,404, all 
U.S. men $6,614.(3) 

Much of the role of Indian women today is influenced 
by poverty, which is more a result of her status as an 
Indian rather than as a woman. But within Indian societies, 
women's roles are also to a large degree defined on the 
basis of cultural expectations differing from those of 
modern American society. In traditional American Indian 

cultures, which were non-technological and based 
directly on human labor for production of food and 
material goods, the roles of men and women were 
considered to be complementary. Women were keepers 
of the home, child bearers, and food gatherers, and 
men were hunters and protectors of the home. Agri- 
cultural societies generally tended to be matri lineal 


because farming was women's work (except in the Pueblos, 
where men and women either shared the labor or men 
farmed exclusively). Where women controlled the major 
source of food supply, they generally also controlled 
the inheritance of personal property and owned the 
family dwelling as well. In hunting and gathering 
societies, the man's role was generally the most import- 
ant in terms of public acknowledgement or display of 
personal qualities of bravery and honor, while women, as 
keepers of the home, exercised considerable influence 
in their own domain. Although marriage was arranged by 
male relatives, once married a woman could exercise a 
great deal of freedom in her future. Mountain Wolf 
Woman, a Menominee girl, was told by her mother, who was 
preparing her for marriage to a man she disliked, that 
whe must do what her brothers wanted her to do or else she 
would disgrace them. However, her mother added, "When you 
are older and know better, you can marry whomever you 
yourself think that you want to marry. "(4) And indeed that is 
what Mountain Wolf Woman did. 

The processes of acculturation that have accompanied 
contact between Indian and non- Indian societies have greatly 
undermined the integrity of Indian societies. Education 
and Christ ian izat ion have already destroyed much of the 
Indian traditions, but there is a persistence of Indian 
identity in America that cannot be denied. In the 1970 
census 763,594 people identified themselves as American 
Indians. Of those, 388,210 were female. (5) The Bureau 
of Indian Affairs currently recognizes 481 Indian tribal 
entities. (6) 

Anthropologists studying the impact of acculturation 
on American Indians have often concluded that Indian women 
are affected less than Indian men because the roles of wives 
and mothers are less challenged than those of men forced to 
give up their traditional hunter and warrior roles to 
compete in a wage based economy. (7) Indian women do indeed 
continue to play important roles in their communities as 
wives and mothers. Yet because the women's liberation 
movement in modern American society has generally portrayed 
those roles as confining and unrewarding, many women 
desiring to be liberated from those roles also see women 
who fulfill those roles as being confined and unfulfilled. 
It is at this point that sterotypes and preconceptions 
become barriers to cross-cultural communication. If 
feminists see themselves as the victims of a male- 
dominated society, they cannot assume that American 
Indian societies are male dominated in the same way 
as their own. If they see the roles of wife and 
mother as unrewarding, they cannot assume that the 
system of rewards of the Indian community is the same 
as that of the dominant society. 

A former president of the University of Minnesota, 
delivering his final commencement address to the student 
body of the University in 1974, stated that the women's 


liberation movement had brought about the most sweeping 
social changes of any movement in America in the last decade. 
It is obvious that any movement making basic changes in 
relationships within a society is going to cause basic 
cultural changes — in patterns of child rearing begavior, in 
the structure of the family, in the economic patterns of 
the country. To assume that Indian women need or wish to 
be liberated from traditional family-based roles is to assume 
that Indian cultures should be changed to conform to 
majority expectations. How to communicate that this is 
not necessarily the case is a problem, especially when 
confronting an audience of feminists. But perhaps it is 
too much of an assumption, indeed it is a form of stereotyping, 
to say that Indian women all share a common sense of 
identity and values, and that they will all react to the 
feminist movement as something opposed to Indian values. 
There Is a wide range of variation in Indian cultures and 
historical experiences of Indian tribes. It is impossible 
to define a unique Indian identity, and Indian woman are 
individuals within their own tribal groups. 

In a questionnaire that I distributed recently, 
part of a study on the status of Indian women in higher 
education, I asked the respondents to describe in their 
own words what they felt was the typical role of a 
woman in her own tribal culture. Of the 61 female 
Indian college students who responded, 24 said that the 
woman was expected to be wife and mother and to take care 
of the home. Several also commented that the woman 
was often expected or forced to take a job to help the 
family financial ly Ten felt that men and women were 
equal, several commenting that each individual was 
expected to do his or her best. Other responses were 
varied. Two stated that they came from tribes having a 
matri lineal tradition where women played very important 
roles. Five said they acted without reference to tribal 
culture. Twelve made no response at all or said they 
didn't know. Survey results indicated a wide latitude 
in women's knowledge of or definition of women's roles 
in their tribal culture. Thus, while a woman may strongly 
identify herself as being Indian, she may not identify 
with a particular role as an Indian woman. The 
survey was conducted among Indian students in colleges 
or universities, certainly a non-typical group of 
Indian women (if any group of Indian women can be 
said to be "typical "). But I think the responses do 
indicate the variability in cultural /sexual identity 
p'ossible. One common factor among the women who I 
surveyed is that they are almost all in college with 
the intention of entering some kind of service profession, 
i.e., teaching, social work, health, guidance and 
counseling, and law. A number indicated their career 
would involve working with Indian people. If the fields 
of education, counseling and social work have, in the 
academic world, traditionally been entered by a large number of 
of women, the Indian women do not seem to view them as 
traditional female options but as areas in which they 


can serve Indian people. 

A misconception affecting all minority women in 
professional areas is that the minority woman has an 
advantage in the job market even over minority men. 
There is some evidence that a college education may 
be the key to greater opportunities for Indian women 
than for white women. According to 1970 census 
statistics, 7.8 percent of all American women have had 
four or more years of col lege, and 16 percent of those 
are employed in professional or technical positions. (8) 
However, in terms of overall participation in the labor 
market, the unemployment rate for Indian women in 1970 
(10.2 percent) was twice as high as for all women. Interestingly, 
though, the unemployment rate for Indian women nationally 
and in rural areas was lower than the unemployment rate for 
Indian men, a situation not existing for any other group 
in the population. (9) Thus college educated Indian woman 
may indeed have a better chance to enter a profession than 
a college educated white woman. Generally, Indian women 
are more likely than Indian men to be employed. However, 
whether this is a desirable situation is guest ionable. If 
these 1970 statistics mean that Indian women are more likely 
than Indian men to be hired, perhaps the situation is 
undesirable since women are being forced to leave their 
homes and enter the job market. The woman must thus assume 
the traditional role of wife and mother and support the family. 
Considering the high levels of unemployment overall for 
Indian men and women, the low family incomes, and the 
high birth rate, the fact that the women are working is 
probably not a matter of liberation from a confining 
role at home but one of sheer necessity. 

Communication strategies for Indian women are as 
varied as the women themselves. Factors involved in a sense 
of cul tural/sexua I identity may be language differences, 
participation in tribal ceremonials (i.e. female puberty rites), 
residence on a reservation, or they may be identity with one's 
family and friends and attendance at week-end pow-wows in 
an urban area. There may be strong pressure to get married. 
Indeed, according to the 1970 census, Indians do marry 
earlier and have families earlier than the general 
population, and their families are generally larger. (10) 
On the other hand, many Indian women college students do 
not necessarily identify the role of wife and mother as 
the traditional woman's role in their tribal culture. 
They feel free to make career choices for themselves 
rather than with any reference to a typical Indian woman's 
role. The most important communication strategy for 
Indian women is displaying pride in one's identity 
and performing with skill and competence the functions 
of one's role, be it wife and mother, lawyer, or teacher. 

Indian women within their own communities have 
their strategies of communication generally 
associated with the respect for the role of wife and 
mother. Expectations are strong that the individual 
will marry, and although attitudes toward marriage 


and divorce may differ from those of the majority 
society in many cases, the extended family (several 
generations of the family living in close proximity 
to each other in a reservation community, or even an 
urban area) still provides continuity in family life. 
The Indian woman who leaves the family to pursue a 
professional career or to seek a college degree often 
does so with the intention of preparing herself in 
some way to serve Indian communities. Her strategies 
of communication with the academic or professional 
community in which she moves may be attempts to inform 
people about Indian values or traditions that help to 
break the stereotypes of Indians still persisting in 
textbooks and the media. The very presence of competent, 
skilled Indian women in academic and professional 
settings is thus a strategy in itself. 

A group of Indian women who are faculty members 
in colleges or universities or involved in professional 
programs was surveyed in connection with my study on 
the status of Native American women in higher education. 
Their reasons for seeking advanced degrees were varied, 
but all in one way or another said, that they intend to help 
Indian students through college. Several mentioned that 
they tried to represent the concerns of Indian people to 
non-Indians. Two definitely felt that part of their 
impact was # as one said, that she was a role model of a 
competent and successful Indian woman, and as the 
other said, she was the only Indian woman that many people 
said they had ever known. 

As varied as their experiences and their present 
lives are, the identities of the women I have interviewed 
and surveyed are shaped by the fact that they are Indian. 
Their studies, their work, and their concerns are in 
most cases related in some way to Indian students or 
Indian communities. They communicate a good deal of 
their identities in their choices of career and their 
commitments to Indian people. 


(1) Joseph G. Gilfillan, The Ojibwe in Minnesota, 
Col lections of the Minnesota Historical Society, 
IX (St. Paul, Minnesota: Published by the Society, 
1901), p. 58. 

(2) Sar A. Levitan and William B. Johnston, I nd ian 
Giving, Federal Programs for Nat i ve Americans 
(Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975), 
pp. 54-55. 


(3) Office of Special Concerns, Office of the Assistant 
Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Department 

of Health, Education and Welfare, A Study of Selected 
Socio-economic Characteristics of Ethnic Minorities 
. Based on the 1970 Census, Vol. Ill: American Indians 
(HEW Publication No. (OS) 75-122, July 1974) P. 59. 

(4) Nancy Oestreich Lurie, ed., Mountain Wolf Woman, 

Sister of Crashing Thunder: The Autobiography of 
a Winnebago Indian (Ann Arbor: The University of 
Michigan Press, 1961), pp. 29-30. 

(5) United States Bureau of the Census, Census of Population : 
1970, Subject Reports, Einal Report PC920-1E, American 

I nd ians (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing 
Office 1973), Tablel, p.1. 

(6) United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of 
Indian Affairs, "You Asked About. • Eacts About American 

Indians and Alaskan Natives," (pamphlet, 1963), p. 1 

(7) See, for example, Louise S„ Spindler, "Menominee 
Women and Culture Change," American Anthropological 
Association Memoir 91 (Menasha, Wisconsin: American 
Anthropological Association, 1962), P. 45. 

(0) Office of Special Concerns, P. 56. 

(9) Ibid., P. 53c 

(10) Ibid., p. 45. 


Northwest American Indian Family Totem 



On my way to catch the KIM flight to Amsterdam 
I stop in the airport news-stand to buy a book for rcadinq 
in flight and pick up Marilyn French's The Women ' s 
Room. On my right is a trim grey-haired woman of 
about seventy, on her way to visit her children and 
grandchildren in Frankfurt. On my left is a young 
mother with a year old baby. In the next row is a 
girl of eighteen on her way to Israel. All four of 
us are reading The Women's Room ! Which leads to 
interesting conversation. There cannot be another 
book this season that is capturing so much attention 
among women of all ages and stages of life. French's 
novel is powerful and upsetting. She reminds us 
that we have not come such "a long way, baby". One 
remembers that millions of women who followed the 
Old Religion were burned as witches in order to 
establish male dominance in religion and medicine. 
Will there be blood in the streets again? The 
implications of the articles on sex role and communi- 
cation in this issue do not offer much to cheer us 
up either. 

Perhaps it is the snow muffled cold of winter 
that enters the heart with a spasm of dread. D erhaps 
we need a longer perspective. Let's recall the earliest 
human memories of the times of the "ancient harmonies" 
of druids and Earth Goddesses and the records of 
humane matriarchies from Stonehenge to ancient Crete 
and the islands of the wine-dark Aegean sea. The 
great wheel of history is turning. We shall emerge 
again in healing power, we shall bless and care for 
the earth and all its living creatures. We shall, 
together with sensitive men who are open to emotional 
experience, restore the Yin/Yang balance to life. A 
male colleague assures me that men's consciousness- 
raising groups are becoming a national phenomenon, 
that men are changing too, are challenging stereotyped 
rigid and demeaning sex roles, that there will be a 
National Conference of Men's Gatherings to form an 
organization that will be the male equivalent of NOW. 

Under these deep drifts of snow, the colors of Spring 
tulips are sleeping, waiting, gathering energy to burst forth, 

Courage Sisters. 

lleZzn I higher 



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